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So Many Goats & No Sheep

(written 6-21-09 by Jess)

We’re closing in on one full year being in Jamaica—For most of us, that is in itself a marker of success.  A bunch of volunteers (mostly from g79) have decided to celebrate this feat with a July 4-5 weekend in Treasure Beach and I, for one, cannot wait.  We’ve never visited TB, and this will be a perfect way to see it for the first time.  Plus, I found it disconcerting last year that we were all too stymied to celebrated our country’s independence.  In fact, I remember thinking that very thing as probably 10 of us huddled on a small section of concrete sidewalk with our laptops, trying to pick up a strong internet signal. The day before was our first in Jamaica and it had been a very long day.  I’m really looking forward to spending time with some folks we rarely see on island and just relaxing on a nice beach for 2 days.  I hear TB is “beach town,” mainly for expats.  From what I’ve heard, it’s something like Edisto, SC or Mexico Beach, FL.  We’ll see—should be fun.

A few things I forgot to mention in the last entry:

  • The wardenship has passed to yours truly (jesse), thus I am the warden for our parish of Portland for the next year.  Shannon has done an excellent job and I hope to follow this tradition.
  • Peace Corps in every country has a Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) consisting of an elected 4-5 PCVs who work as liaisons between country staff and the volunteers.  I was nominated for VAC Secretary and was elected—so now I’m doing that! Other members are Tony, Dave, Benjee & Craig…I’m the only female ☹, but I’m happy with this group of people.  Should be pretty interesting—so far, I haven’t done much but it’s early.
  • We just had another North East Regional Health Meeting in Ocho Rios (June 16).  I helped to coordinate and arrange for catering and that seemed to work out just fine.  It’s a time for PC and other stakeholders and work counterparts to discuss issues and pool resources.  I think Josh, Rob and myself came out with a couple of new contacts and a solid lead for more new work through our Portland Health Department.  There’s a program called “Healthy Schools” that we may start facilitating at our community Primary Schools.  More on that after the next meeting.

It’s after 10pm and we just got home from a day with community members that started around 5:30am.  A lady I knew from a womens’ group invited us to an outing in Rural Hill (near Long Bay) to “priti up” her mother’s grave site.  Well, it was truly a family affair and we were happy to be a part.  Her brother, sister and countless cousins and well-wishers showed up to show support and eat the cooked goat and chicken w/ rice and peas (rice & gungo peas), dasheen and plantain.  After the work was finished and food cleaned up, we stopped at Winifred Beach (known to be a locals beach and free!) to cool off.  Then, we headed home.  Every little conversation, every saying YES to an opportunity toward cultural understanding seems to be important.  Now, it’s difficult to say YES all of the time, because you have no idea how awkward these encounters can be.  However, I’d say it’s almost always worth the time and discomfort.  It’s hard to notice the good that comes from it while you’re there—very few people will say “hi” or strike up conversations.  Mostly people blatantly stare and continue this through your silly attempts to converse with THEM.  It’s odd.

And the title! Josh posed the question-Why does Jamaica have so many goats and not any sheep? I guess it’s not strange to have one and not the other.  Josh would much prefer to trade all the goats (except the babies, cuz they’re so silly and cute) for sheep and eat gyros all the livee long day.  So, if you have been granted tres wishes and you have all you need…let us make one: sheep in Jamaica…abra cadabra!!


2 Responses

  1. Maybe it’s too hot for sheep. The only place I remember seeing sheep in Jamaica is the University of the West Indies. This was maybe 20 years ago, so I don’t know if they are still there. I remember feeling sorry for them, walking around with all that wool in the tropics.

  2. Sounds like a lot of good things are happening over der. We love you and are continually amazed and proud of you two.

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